Experts suggest Beijing increase costs of car use to ease traffic

13:19, October 21, 2010      

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With 4.5 million vehicles on the road and counting, traffic in Beijing has become a prominent problem. Although Beijing is not the world's worst city in terms of traffic, it is also necessary to take economic or legal means to control the number of vehicles in Beijing, suggested Guo Jifu, director of Beijing Transportation Research Center on the Sixth China Transport Forum.

He stands that the government should not offer invisible subsidies such as free parking at the sides of some roads because the land resource is valuable.

Guo said that the traffic jam was a regular problem that the city had to face during its development process. New York and Tokyo also experienced such a problem in 1930s and 1960s, respectively.

"The driving speed in Tokyo was less than 15 kilometers per hour at that time, while the average speed in Beijing now is no lower than in Tokyo and London," he said.

Guo found that the transportation structure of each city is significantly different. In London and Tokyo, the transportation in central areas mainly relies on public transit and in peripheral areas relies on cars. In Beijing, the opposite is true.

Although Beijing has fewer vehicles than Tokyo, it has more vehicles in its central areas than in Tokyo and twice as many as in New York's Manhattan, which means that cars are overused in short-distance travel in Beijing.

A survey also shows that driving in Beijing is the most "tiresome" in the world because 40 percent of automobile use is to travel a distance of less than 5 kilometers.

In addition, Guo said that Tokyo, Paris, London and some other cities have started to increase the use of bicycles, but the proportion of bicycle travel in Beijing only accounts for 8 percent at present.

By Zhao Chenyan, People's Daily Online


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